In today’s highly competitive business climate, being able to attract, serve and satisfy more customers is a key to success and increasing revenue. A happy customer is more likely to be a loyal one, coming back to your store.
Retaining customers and keeping them loyal to your brand is a challenge though. Recent research shows that as many as 90% of the retail customers will simply leave after just one single bad experience. It shows that the experience delivered has to be not only great; it needs also to be consistent during time.
However, 86% are willing to pay more to get a better experience which suggests that investing in customer experience is a major differentiator in the market today.
From experience gained over the years working with retail clients all over the world, we have identified five key challenges facing retail stores:
- How to get more customers into the store
- How to get more customers to stay
- How to get more customers to buy and buy more
- How to make better use of resources
- How to make better use of assets
With so many stores on the high street, offering similar products, services, packages and formats, it is hard to stand out from the crowd. Why should customers choose your store? And if they decide to come into the store, between 30% and 40% of them will leave the store without having had any staff interaction. Many of them are potentially high value/worth customers.
Do add even more to the challenges, consumer research indicates that 75% of purchasing decisions are made when the customer is in-store yet nearly 80% of customers often leave the store without buying anything.
Is there something a retailer can do to meet the challenges and become more successful and profitable? Yes, there is and I will highlight a few examples below.
- To get more customers into the store you can deploy a mobile application solution that makes it easier for customers to find the store and access it when they choose. And you can offer an appointment service to give customers the opportunity to see a real expert when it suits them. In simple terms, the solution makes each and every customer journey unique and special, regardless of what the customer wants. The overall experience from a well-structured customer journey will also make your store the store of choice.
- Customers have never been more impatient that today. Instead of leaving the wait to chance, deploy a customer journey management solution that places your customers in a virtual queue. It could be as simple as when there are more than 5 people waiting, the customer gets a choice to leave his mobile phone number in a self-service kiosk. Instead of leaving, the customer browses the store. And browsing customers buys more. The customer is then called by the staff via an SMS alert.
- Given that a majority of customers enter stores with only a rough idea what to buy, they are incredibly impressionable when they are in the store. Using the smartphone or indeed a printed ticket or digital screens as a place to promote in store merchandise could create new in store marketing opportunities. If the customer gets a choice to check in with his loyalty card, you can provide a personalized experience and personalized offers.
- 60% of customers are often left on their own to wait or seek help, whilst staff members are either available or engaged in activities that add no customer value. Through a virtual queuing solution (based on mobile queuing or tickets), staff members are notified if customers are waiting and seeking help, and you can even offer an appointment service that encourages customers to access real experts/staff during less busy times of the day.
- And finally – Why the retailer should care about Apple – iBeacons. With this new technology combined with a customer journey management system you can provide customers that enter your location the information about service provided with the possibility already at the entrance to see waiting time and take a virtual ticket to a queue. You can also provide customers with the possibility to select and request service by the staff at the location where they are, rather than seeking out the sales staff.
Some of the examples above might sound simple. But sometimes simple is what is efficient. Based on real client implementations, below are some of the results we have seen coming from smart customer journey management solutions:
- 15.5% increase in overall footfall
- 26% sales uplift
- 43% uplift in customers having a positive outlook on the store
- 88% uplift in sales of merchandise through smart context marketing ads
Summing up, more than ever before, success depends on being able to offer a customer experience that is unique and more attractive than the competition - an experience that empowers customers so that they can decide the best way to interact with the store. Simply put, every contact opportunity should deliver exactly what the customer wants, when they want it.
And that needs to be delivered consistently through all of the channels – online, mobile and in the store.